Friday, 28 August 2015

Phonemic Awareness-"Silly or Real"

Just over a week and we'll be back in school here in B.C.!  Summer has flown by.
I've spent a lot of my career teaching first grade. Phonemic awareness is so important for emergent readers and kids who are able to "play" with sounds are generally quicker to catch on to reading. 
I was lucky to teach in a primary school (we only had kindies and first and second grade) and we were able to focus all our resource $ on early primary. One of the things we were able to get for every classroom in the mid 90’s was a reading program called Open Court. It has been revised several times in the intervening years. This student workbook is part of the 2005 edition. We were working with the first edition published around 10 years earlier. 

The program was published by McGraw-Hill and came with a huge range of resources. It was incredibly well researched and the credits go on for pages. Many of the contributors were ones that later became familiar to me when I was doing post graduate courses in Literacy Instruction. The senior editor for the Open Court program was the late Dr. Michael Pressley, my ELA hero.
One of the things that I really loved about the program were the daily oral exercises that were set out in the Teacher's Guide. There was a wide range of them and I believe they made a significant contribution to the success of the program in effectively teaching young students to read. The school I was working in was in a small, rural community. About 40% of our students were from the three First Nations bands in the area. The third year I was using the program my students' average reading level (DRA) was 32 at the end of the year. The school district's level for "meeting expectations" was around 17 at the end of grade one. This was a highly effective program. 
One of my favourite exercises went like this:
Teacher:  My word is fan.  What if I changed the last sound to (make a 't' sound) ?  
Kids:  Fat.
Teacher:  Now change the first sound in fat to (make an m sound). 
Kids:  Mat.  
And so on for about 10 - 15 changes. 
But every now and then I'd go off script and throw in something like:  Change the last sound in mat to  (make a z sound). 
The kids thought this was hilarious and were always waiting for me to toss out a silly word. 
This gave me the idea for a ELA /Work on Words center that I've been using with my students for years. I originally had little rubber tiles that were like Scrabble tiles and I hand wrote the vowels on a sheet of paper for them. Last year I made it up on my computer and called it "Silly or Real"  It worked well and was much in demand.
Click HERE to head over to TpT to get the freebie in the preview file.

I just posted Real or Not Real to MY TpT STORE .The freebie is in the preview file. If you download it please take a moment to rate it.  AND this is the first time I've uploaded a preview file, so if there are any glitches please let me know.  I tested it out and it seems to be good.

I'm joining Freebie Friday hosted by Fern Smith at Teaching Blog Addict this week. Click on THIS LINK  to head over and get more freebies!

P.S.:  If you happen to have any copies of Open Court lurking in the dark corners of your school's book room I recommend that you check them out, especially the Teacher's Guide.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a fun way to teach phonemic awareness. I'm glad you shared on Freebie Friday.
    Artistry of Education